How has work in Fiscal & Audit Services changed since remote operations began at UW Bothell? Lisa Robertson, supervisor in the cashier’s office, answers a few questions from Maria Lamarca Anderson.
Q. What would you normally be doing and where? How about now?
A. We are in the third week of the quarter which means tuition is due. Most of my time would be spent in the cashier’s office assisting students with their tuition payments and providing information about resources to help those who are seeking other payment options and financial assistance. Now, aside from a couple of days a month when I go into the office to process the mail, I am working from home.
Q. What are you trying to work on today?
A. Today, I am working on policy and procedures. Reformatting and updating content. It is an ongoing project that I work on with two of my FAS colleagues. It’s a real team project which is helping to keep us connected during this time of separation.
Q. What adjustments have you made to complete your work?
A. At the office, I use an adjustable standing desk. I didn’t realize how much I relied on the option to sit or stand throughout the day so I really missed that feature at the beginning. At home, I was finding it hard to sit all day, and I would fidget around trying to be comfortable in my chair.
I regularly participate in the Zoom Zoom to Connect weekly teleconferences designed to keep our campus community together while we’re apart. Serendipitously, one of the first meetings was about ergonomics and work space setup. One of the suggestions was to devise a standing desk at home. I immediately put one together, and it has made all the difference. Being more comfortable, I’m able to stay focused on my work.
Q. What are you doing to care for yourself or for others?
A. Every morning, I take a 15-minute walk, rain or shine. Being outside helps me clear my mind and de-stress. I also set aside time to practice mindfulness (another idea from a Zoom Zoom). These rituals help me deal with stressors whether in my work or home life. If I am having trouble with a project or composing a communication, I find stepping out in my garden for a couple of minutes helps me reset as well. Often when I return, I can see right away what needs to be done to clear my mental roadblock.
I have several senior friends living in retirement communities who are struggling with being isolated. I try to connect with them as much as possible through phone calls. It helps them to just have someone to talk to. It is so important to stay connected with our senior family, friends and community members. They have wonderful life stories to share.
Q. Do you have a change of perspective to share?
A. I find I am valuing my family and friends more. In normal times, it is easy to take for granted that you will be able to plan a get-together or just drop by to visit. Now, with all this uncertainty going on and physical distancing, I realize how important they are to me and how important it is to stay connected. I do miss all the hugs and can’t wait to give them for real!
Q. What other thoughts or feelings do you want to share?
A. Stay connected with your friends, family and coworkers by whatever means work best for you. Help others if you can and find ways to laugh and be happy. We will get through this!